Chris Paisley maintains form, charges into top spot in Malaysia

Chris Paisley maintains form, charges into top spot in Malaysia

Metro Golf Notes Posted by Reid Spencer
image (Photo by Getty Images)
Chris Paisley fired a bogey-free 65 to take a one-shot lead in the suspended first round of the Maybank Championship.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Chris Paisley continued his stunning start to the 2018 season as he set the clubhouse target on a weather-delayed first day of the Maybank Championship.

The Englishman had five career top fives coming into the new campaign but has added three in as many weeks since the turn of the year, including his maiden European Tour win at the BMW South African Open.

The 31-year-old carded a bogey-free 65 to move him to 7 under par at Saujana Golf and Country Club, one shot clear of countryman David Horsey, who had been right in contention at last week's Omega Dubai Desert Classic and has brought that good form to Malaysia as he set the early pace.

““It was great and nice to keep the form going,” Paisley said. “I just played really solid, hit it well off the tee, so gave myself a lot of wedges and short irons into the greens which were really good and gave myself a lot of birdie chances—couldn’t have gone better.”

The difficulty lay in maintaining concentration in the hot, humid conditions.

“That’s the hardest part,” Paisley said. “It’s very hot and not much wind, so scoring-wise it is quite easy, but to keep your focus is quite difficult with how tiring the heat is. But it is good fun.

“I was pretty much in the fairway every hole, and just felt like I had a lot of 100-yard to 140-yard shots, which is generally my strength, and hit a few stiff and lots to within 10 feet, so managed to hole a few putts as well.”

Another Englishman, Andrew Johnston, last year's runner-up David Lipksy, India's Arjun Atwal, South Korean Soomin Lee and French duo Alexander Levy and Romain Wattel all managed to get their rounds finished as they signed for 67s, but many of the second wave were not so lucky.

Play was suspended at 3:40 p.m. due to the threat of storms, and an hour and 50 minutes was lost, meaning 40 players will have to complete their rounds on Friday.

Among those was Mike Lorenzo-Vera, the Frenchman sitting 6 under with two holes to complete after an eagle on the fifth, birdies on the 11th, 14th, first, second and seventh, and a single bogey on the 12th.

There was then a group of 15 players at 4 under, including defending champion Fabrizio Zanotti, Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn, and local favorite Gavin Green.

Australian Todd Sinnott made the fourth hole-in-one of the European Tour season as he aced the fourth from 195 yards with a 7 iron.

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